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Don’t Mute Your Brand: Why Sound Design Can Be Strategic


Experts from across the world of sound share their insights into how to approach sound design strategically and make the most of it

Don’t Mute Your Brand: Why Sound Design Can Be Strategic
Sound design is so often the last thing that marketers think about when it comes to their brand, advertising and content. Perhaps they’re missing a very powerful trick. Sound and emotion are deeply interlinked, so taking a more thoughtful, strategic approach to sound design can make content more resonant and effective. We spoke to sound designers around the world to find out their view of how to make the most of the strategic power of sound design.

Rob Dunham, executive producer, A-MNEMONIC

When it comes to sound design, many people think of it as simply a way to make things sound better. However, sound design can be so much more than that – it can be strategic. For example, it can actually play a role in enhancing the user experience, evoking emotion, and even driving sales.

We now live in a world where we’re exposed to sound on a multitude of different platforms; which can be diverse as in-app sounds, radio, TikTok or TV. Marketers and agencies really need to think about how they use sound in a much more ‘cross platform’ way - especially as everything now communicates through sound; from Alexa to Ring doorbells. Even dishwashers use sound in a clever way!

In its simplest form, sound design is the art of creating and manipulating audio to achieve the desired effect. It’s important to remember that sound can convey information more effectively than visual cues alone, and good sound design can create an audio experience that is pleasant to use, and more importantly, stimulates memory. This is especially true for auditory learners, who tend to process information better when they hear it rather than see it. 

Sound design can be a powerful tool in any brand’s strategy. We use creative audio choices to add an extra layer to branding. For example, a jingle or a unique sound effect can help customers immediately recognise a brand's advertisement or product, which can increase brand awareness and loyalty. Sound can evoke emotions and create a sense of identity for a brand, which can help customers connect with the business on a much deeper level.

Pedro Botsaris, partner & ECD, Antfood

Sound is often under-appreciated due to its intangible nature. Our auditory system is crucial in our perception of the world, but we engage with it instinctively, deeply connecting it to our emotions.

It's understandable that we gravitate towards visual communication in marketing and branding; it is natural to devise tangible strategies using shapes and colours. However, when the primary goal of a campaign is to elicit emotions, sound emerges as the most effective tool. Comprehending the cultural, emotional and cognitive of is the foundation for developing strategies that effectively integrate the sonic world into branding and marketing initiatives.

Sound strengthens memory retention by collaboratively engaging semantic memory, episodic memory and emotional factors. Advertisers intuitively understand that embedding a campaign message within a catchy tune can result in a lasting memory for the audience. Can you sing a jingle from your childhood?

Sound transcends the need for tangible reasons to experience emotions. It allows us to feel melancholic without truly being engulfed in sadness. This ability is incredibly powerful when employed strategically. Much of human communication is about conveying emotion and feelings. Sound brings the emotional intent of the message, fostering a more profound connection with the audience.

Music can serve as a social glue influencing the way people create social structures, driven by the need for social connection and a sense of belonging. Brands must align with such social structures to resonate with their target audience. The crucial role music plays in conveying these values is frequently overlooked...

Jack Hallett, senior sound designer, Factory Studios

Focusing on audio and sound design early on in a campaign is essential. It can open a whole new world of ideas if it is approached and explored at the inception of a project.
This can be true of all sound briefs and is especially important when developing concepts relating to sonic branding. 
Sonic branding is immensely powerful. It’s not a new thing but given the way we now use headphones and Air Pods to consume our content, it’s very much centre stage with forward thinking brands; and rightly so. To give recognition to a brand and its identity through an audio-only device - now that’s sound design with purpose.
Some of the most impactful sonic branding resonates with audiences for years, decades even. Sonic branding isn’t just about a ‘catchy jingle’, it should help define a brand. Truly effective sonic branding uses audio ‘triggers’ to reach listeners and therefore build a connection with potential customers through the power of sound. Building a brand, you must be aware of your target audience and with the right use of sonic branding you can reach them in a new and exciting way.
TikTok is a good example of how sound has been taken to a whole new level by using audio-first approaches to making content. Whether it be a song or collection of sound effects, audio is the defining focus of this type of content. This strong audio ‘hook’ builds a strong and subconscious connection between consumer and brand. A connection that runs much deeper than many visual stimuli.
Take the time to explore the sound of your brand, be strategic and understand what you collectively achieve. The sonic possibilities are endless and the results for brand recognition can be amazing. 

Raja Sehgal, Munzie Thind, Gary Turnbull and Carole Humphrey, GCRS 

Using sound strategically is not a new concept. Brands have used jingles, mnemonics and actors to get their messages across and create recognition since the 1920s. 
The real question, what is it that you want to achieve with sound? 

Is it ‘sonic branding’ in the traditional sense? A short but instantly recognisable audio cue that says,  ‘Brand X’. 

However, sound design can extend further than that. It can tie the entire production together to  create a signature brand style, something that states ‘Brand Y’ throughout the entire piece. 

Or are we talking about achieving a particular purpose, such as a rebrand? Changing the sound  associated with a previous campaign, whether it is the music, voiceover, mnemonic or sound design style, it all forms part of the new brand strategy.  

Sound design is often used strategically for the launch of new spatial audio devices; be it new headphones,  sound bars, TVs or mobile devices. The sound design is created to demo the product to its fullest  potential to generate sales by driving the consumer to an outlet to hear the sound design in its intended  format. This was used effectively by Sky for the launch of Sky Glass, where a campaign was designed and mixed in Dolby HE – home atmos and was available to sample in store. 

Creating empathy and awareness with the experience is what was required from the sound design for the National Autistic Society’s ‘Sensory Overload’ campaign. The sound was specifically designed to express the debilitating experience suffered by thousands of people due to sensory sensitivity.

In summary, sound design can be strategic in many ways to highlight, enhance and demonstrate - it is  limited only by imagination. 

Chris Turner, senior sound designer/director, Jungle Studios

Switching the song on someone else's playlist before the last song has even finished - we’ve all done it. Music is personal and we all like to curate the soundtrack to our own lives, but sometimes someone else has to choose for us.

My wife and mother-in-law were busy deliberating on which song to play at my father-in-law’s funeral, and they were relieved when they finally agreed upon ‘While My Guitar Gently Weeps’, only to be asked by the funeral director which of the 300 different versions they liked best.

It’s curious to me, knowing the power of sound, how often brands seem to not think strategically about their use of music, sonic identity and consistency of voice-over.

The advertising campaigns that have endured the longest and garner the most brand recall have all relied on a few simple things: A tag line that can endure any moment in history, a consistent voice or tone of voice that embodies the brand and a sonic identity that excites or is instantly recognisable as the brand.

There are a few other important factors such as logo, font, colour scheme... but everything else is just fluff.

Of course, everyone likes fluff, it keeps things fresh and brightens up our lives - but what will endure for brands on any format, is a sonic consistency that is so strategic, it’s adaptable.

For Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, the brief used to be: ‘bring joy to people's lives by reviving a lost musical classic’.

For McDonalds it’s a finely crafted story with a happy whistle at the end.

For Lloyds TSB it was an operatic voice that could be backed by any genre of music.

For TikTok it is a 10-second burst of the latest banger.

What is it for your brand?

Matej Oreskovic, EP, Machine NY

It’s no secret that a lot of award-winning audio work is directly linked with time spent on thinking, exploration, failing, succeeding. Sound Designer Al Nelson took multiple trips to jet carriers and runways to come up with the Oscar-winning sound for the fictional hypersonic aircraft used in Top Gun: Maverick. Mark Mangini and his team started creating the sound of the Voice in Dune around the same time as the edit began (only to complete it a few days before the mix). Hildur Guðnadóttir’s
haunting score on the HBO’s series Chernobyl is comprised of atmospheres, rhythmic beats and sounds of metal impacts bouncing around huge spaces... recorded in a nuclear plant in Lithuania early in the process.

There’s a theme here and I’ll let you guess what it is. A lot of these sounds are recurring - changing shape, pitch, duration, etc. It was the process of figuring out and the art of “nailing the sound” part that took the most amount of time.

The same principle applies in our 30”, 60” and 90” worlds. We have a lot of story to tell in a short amount of time, so taking inspiration from examples like those above can be hugely beneficial from a creative standpoint. Not to mention that with more content being shot on Volume stages without production sound, engaging your sound designers early can save time (and budget) on the back end.

Alex Coutts, SVP, head of experience, and Amy Crawford, ECD, music products, Made Music Studio

Sound is a key tool in a brand’s marketing toolbox, yet continues to be an underleveraged design principle across a brand’s full ecosystem.
Here are four reasons why a strategic approach to sound will ensure your product, experience or content will better connect with your audience: 
1.     Hearing is our organising sense. There is an 86% correlation between the sound of an experience and our subconscious desire to return to that experience. Thus, sound is critical to creating moments that users will want to return to – ones that feel intuitive, emotional and memorable. 
2.     Sound uncovers the soul of an experience. Do you want your brand to feel cute? Cutting-edge? Warm? Defining and delivering the right sonic persona can communicate your brand values in a more engaging way, all while delivering the necessary information simply, effortlessly and wordlessly.  
3.     Sound builds trust. As society encounters a barrage of new experiences like autonomous vehicles, AI, and screenless interactions, sound can ground us in shared language that humanises our interactions with machines, ultimately encouraging new product adoption. 
4.     Sound’s role will only grow in a future of connectedness. Modern audiences — gen z, especially — have high expectations for digital experiences, from social media to mobile apps, expecting them to evolve based on their unique needs. So whether you’re intentional about sound or not, your audience will be comparing your brand experiences to those moments across their lives that connect with them most. 

Abby Sie, sound supervisor, film and TV sound designer, MassiveMusic Sydney

The strategic use of sound design is a powerful tool that can help establish a brand's identity and create a unique and recognisable auditory signature that resonates with consumers. While music is commonly used to create a specific mood or emotion, sound design, and particularly immersive sound design, can evoke emotions and memories of specific locations or times in people's lives. This can be a highly effective way to tap into the subconscious associations of consumers and create a more emotional response to a brand's messaging.

Sound design can be particularly effective when emotional resonance is crucial in driving consumer behaviour. For example, the ‘Come and Feel New’ campaign by Destination New South Wales, the tourism body for Australia's largest state, aimed to evoke emotions such as belonging and adventure. Sound design was used in unexpected ways, such as featuring a kookaburra's laugh on a woman's face and the sound of seagulls over a skateboard ramp jump. These sounds helped to create the idea that New South Wales is a destination where nature and culture collide, and the concept was distilled into its sonic logo, which featured the crash of waves on rocks colliding into the roar of a crowd at a concert. 

Sound design can create and elevate a unique audio identity. By consistently using these assets on all touchpoints (TV, radio, content, social media), brands can stand out in a crowded marketplace and establish a distinctive personality that resonates on a visceral level.

Geoff Strasser, mixer and sound designer, Mr Bronx

Sound design has many strategic applications. Most of the sound effects that I add to a piece may seemingly go unnoticed by viewers, but their presence has a tremendous subconscious impact, steering purpose and impact in significant ways. Mr. Bronx just worked on a campaign for adidas, starring James Harden, where we wanted to make the all-star feel larger than life while retaining an intimate and raw feeling. To aid the concept, I added wood impacts and explosive booms under his dribbles instead of the typical basketball ricochet. This lended immense power to the footage while retaining a real-life feeling. These additions might seem subtle to those who don’t know how to listen for them, but I believe that the subconscious impact of the decision greatly enhances the story and its character.

Ultimately, we ask ourselves how sound can drive a narrative forward. If an ad opens with a group of people waiting on the porch outside of someone's home, for example, the resident won’t know to let her friends inside without the chime of a doorbell. The actors don’t hear the sound on set; we add it in post. In a way, the scene can’t really begin without the cue of that doorbell. A more extreme example would be the ‘Silence Is Powerful’ campaign that I sound-designed for Kia. These ads have no voiceover or music; the commercial consisted solely of visuals and sound design. The role of sound design was trifold: it had to maintain the attention of the viewer, give them all of the plot points and information of the story and guide them emotionally through the spot.

We have had to adjust our sound design strategy as we start creating ads for new platforms beyond broadcast, such as TikTok and Instagram. When we are creating ads for TikTok, I know that I have a very limited window, perhaps one second, to grab a user’s attention. Keeping their attention is even harder. Advertisers are executing the weirdest concepts to pull people in and keep them glued to the screen - and this applies to the sound design as well. I’ve been using weirder sounds for TikTok videos to make viewers think about what they are hearing, and make them stick around an ad for longer. In the past, for broadcast ads, I would never reach for a distracting or gross sound, or risk cheapening the product with generic or cartoon sound effects. That playbook goes out the window for TikTok.

Laura Dopp and Andrew Tracy, co-founders, One Thousand Birds 

Sound design can be a strategic tool for brands to enhance their identity and connect with audiences in meaningful ways. Sound has a unique ability to evoke emotions, trigger memories and influence behavior, making it an extremely powerful tool. 

For Lexus, One Thousand Birds created a subtle organic natural soundscape while emphasising the power of the all-electric RZ50. The juxtaposition of the natural beauty and the power of the electric car pulls potential buyers into the driver's seat. This spot expertly employs sound to evoke powerful emotions, making it an incredibly effective marketing tool.

Sound design can also enhance the brand experience across various touchpoints. From commercials and videos to websites and apps, strategically designed sounds can create a cohesive and immersive brand experience. Just as visual design style is important for a campaign, a well thought out sonic palette can make a brand's message feel unified and further reinforce the message of the campaign. These sounds can evoke desired emotions, reinforce brand values and create a memorable user experience.

The campaigns from SquareSpace are always so wonderfully cohesive. For the ‘You can Sell’ series OTB has created a complimentary style of sound design across numerous spots including ‘Everything to sell Dreams’ and ‘Everything to Sell Anything’.

Sound design can be a strategic tool for brands to create a unique brand identity, enhance the brand experience and influence consumer behavior. By harnessing the power of sound, brands can create a memorable and emotionally resonant connection with their audiences, ultimately leading to increased brand recognition, loyalty, and business success.

Mitch Davis, co-owner/composer, Pull 

Sound design is a crucial component in creating a successful audiovisual experience. However, it is often overlooked or considered an afterthought in the production process. Many people fail to realise that sound design is more than simply adding sound effects or background room tone. It is an art form that requires careful consideration and creativity.

Sound design should not, and in most instances cannot, be viewed as a separate entity from music composition. The two need to work together in literal perfect harmony to create a cohesive audiovisual experience. They must be in sync in terms of pitch, rhythm, and tone, while also matching the visuals. When sound design and music are thought of together from the beginning of the production process, the end product is absolutely more effective.

Life has a beat and a melody. The tone in street noise mustn’t clash with the tone of the music. And the inherent rhythm of the sound-designed world needs to be crafted in a way that matches what you are seeing on screen while simultaneously staying out of the way of the music. Music and sound design need to both stay away from and support each other. They have to be crafted together as each affects the other. They are each other.

Today, there are numerous libraries of ‘cinematic sound design’ available, making it easy for sound designers to fall into the trap of using pre-made sounds that lack originality and creativity. To truly stand out, sound designers must think outside the box and create unique soundscapes that elevate the overall audiovisual experience.

Music and sound play a critical role in elevating the picture. Viewers are sophisticated and expect a high level of quality in all aspects of the audiovisual experience. Sound design can make or break a production, and it is essential that it receives the attention it deserves.

Mary Kate Valentino, senior producer, Sonic Union

We’re thrilled to see agencies and brands focusing on sound design as a harnessable asset. It’s key to holistic creative. Sound design has the power to elevate energy, intimacy and create a more emotionally immersive experience for the audience. 

As a creative-comes-first sound studio, our clients bring us on board as early as possible in the production to discuss the brief and explore approach. Collaboration is the key! For example, in some ASMR films we’ve collaborated on, we’ve helped clients outline their shot list to understand the visuals from an audio perspective. For podcasts and radio work, we encourage clients to understand how narrative plays against pacing, sound design and musical elements. Lastly, for all commercial work we promote equal importance  on music and sound design, as the integration of those two elements interplaying is integral for creatives to consider from the get-go.

For example, while working with the amazingly creative team at Mojo Supermarket on a fully-animated PSA campaign, we were given the fun challenge of building out a fantastical dystopian world through custom sound design. The visuals were already extremely impactful  and our sound designers were tasked with pairing those visuals with a tonality that would evoke a sort of uneasiness with the viewer. Highlights are heard in the sharp and flat key notes, the echoey room tone and mechanical-like sounds - a combination that  would raise the hair on your arms….

By working in tandem with the animation team, and inspiring each other with WIPs of design in two directions, we were able to create complete synergy in the final assets. Many productions think about music before sound design, but this scenario exemplifies how sound design can deliver the same value in branding your campaign and product. Talk with your vendors early, connect the teams together and watch how collaboration always raises the creative bar!

Greg Allan and Tony Elfers, Sonixphere

George Lucas famously said, “Sound is 50% of the movie going experience.” David Lynch follows with “Films are 50% visual and 50% sound. Sometimes the sound even overplays the visual.”  

If sound is so consequential to these pioneering visionaries, why is it often an afterthought in advertising?

Sonixphere has been on both sides of the coin; one agency calls at the 11th hour requesting some ‘quick’ sound design, hoping to add that 10% sheen to its  finished product. Another agency shares storyboards and concepts early on, planning for sound to be an integral character in its story.

While we’re always giving 100% to either project, I’ll let you guess which one turns out better.

We recently had the pleasure of working with Cramer-Krasselt on a Naked Juice campaign. Three 15-second broadcast spots, and the usual slew of cutdowns and spinoffs for social. With 15 seconds or less to work with, every aspect of this production had to be exceptional for it to resonate with consumers.

Fortunately, sound design was a conceptual ‘character’ in this campaign from day one. We brainstormed with creatives about the role of sound design, music, and visuals, and how they’d work in perfect sync. These combined elements would show an amazing transformation - from the busy, noisy, distractions of our day-to-day lives, to a moment of pure bliss generated by a sip of Naked Juice.

With so much advertising competition on so many platforms, it’s vital to engage every sense to stand out. That’s sound advice.

Angelina Phengphong, senior post producer, Squeak E. Clean Studios 

Good sound design is sometimes work you don’t always notice–it often melds seamlessly within the world you’re building, immersing you further in – but sometimes that means it can be less intuitive for creatives to brief, compared to the visuals or music in the production process. I want to encourage creatives to think through the lens of ‘how do I want this to feel?’ and utilise the power of sound design, and the growing audio content space, to fully immerse the viewer in whatever story you’re telling. Rely on the expertise of your sound designer to help you bring that vision to life and allow creative sound design to be something that becomes holistically ingrained - not only in the messaging of the product, but in the product itself.

We worked on a spot for BMW to launch its new fully electric SUV where we designed a soundscape featuring elements of the car’s unique ‘engine’ sounds created by Hans Zimmer. The result was this natural-yet-futuristic feeling of gravitas that wonderfully represented the car and the brand. The fact that creative sound design was used not just for the messaging but within the product itself is an exciting prospect for creative audio to build a brand's sonic identity beyond the traditional touch points.

Steve Gadsden, president/composer/engineer, TA2

I’ve always been an advocate of strategy-first thinking on how to approach any project. I guess having a creative mind, I can go a million places with any idea. I’m often shown something random and asked if it is working, my question back is often, what are you trying to achieve? If I know that, I can tell you how effective the execution is, and possibly a hundred other ways to get there. In the end, we need to be fitting the brand strategy puzzle pieces together and make a project cohesive. Everything pulling in the same direction gives you a stronger swing, and audio is generally at least fifty percent of the communication. 

Every communication that has an auditory element is an opportunity to convey information about your brand. Humans have relied on sounds to orient them in the world, know the distance and positioning of a target, know if there is danger, a warning, all by the sounds experienced since the dawn of time. Music can tell us how to feel at any given moment. The choice of instrument or music key or even melody can tell the listener on a primal level a thousand data points of information. It doesn’t have to be something as intricate as whole sonic branding (though it’s a good idea to embrace that approach when possible) it can be just using a light ‘whoosh’ to mark visual movements and transition in a commercial. What sounds you select to make that whoosh will match the visual in tone and shape but can also speak to the product or the messaging. For example, is it telling me that we are easy to use or simple, a light sound with a fast envelope and no resistance (no weight, griding or drag) will convey ease and simplicity. 

Even the lack of sound can be a statement or support a narrative. The point is that every element is important and helps clarify the communication, and with the proper partners and thinking in place, your work can achieve that ‘it just works’ status.

When developing the audio component for the Toronto Transit ‘Presto’ system, there were some incredible challenges. We needed sounds that conveyed multiple kinds of positive and negative that would be meaningful across cultures and languages. For example, when there was something wrong, the sounds needed to let you know instantly what was the issue. There are distinct sounds for damaged card, underfunded, account issues etc. We had to take many factors into consideration. The environment in which people will be hearing the sounds needed consideration. We had to do focus groups with drivers and TTC staff to see if they could identify the intention of the sounds and if they could be tolerated when heard thousands of times every day. We looked at the physical machine itself and the size of the speakers, what SPL it could achieve in a busy place like Union Station. Could people hear things clearly and understand what was happening when immersed in the busiest station in the system? We developed sixteen ‘families’ of sounds that had a range of textures and tonal bases and tested them in the field to meet all the standards listed above and we finally settled on the one you can experience today.

Adam Hare, studio technician, String and Tins

Impactful moments, more often than not, need a harmony of storytelling and sound design to engage us on an emotional level. And while it’s true that sound needs to reinforce a story, extraordinary moments demand that sound design be a part of the story itself. 

Take ‘The Sound of Metal’, a soulfully charged film about a drummer who loses his hearing. The soundtrack is extreme, visceral and uncomfortable at times, lending a perspective into the mind of someone whose hearing is rapidly deteriorating. Well-considered placements of harsh, loud noises, tinnitus rings and distorted diegetic sounds build up tension, amplifying the anxiety that Ruben, the protagonist, is facing. Sound design is used to define the happening of a given scene, while giving shape to the plot as a whole by taking the audience on a journey through Ruben’s ears - and by extension, his mind.

This is highlighted when, at a certain point, all sounds stop entirely. The contrast and imminence in this moment of negative space connects the audience to Ruben in a way that not only makes you feel like you’re experiencing his deafness, but that you’ve gone on his journey with him.

It’s not surprising that films like ‘The Sound of Metal’ put such a strong emphasis on conveying the story through sound design. Regardless of genre, plot, or format, the story arc of the soundtrack needs to be as strategically planned and delivered as any other aspect. Well-considered sound design is a tool that can expand and enhance the film-watching experience, so it’s always at the front of our minds when planning the next project.

Toby Slade-Baker, Alex Lodge and Holly Abey, Virtual Sound

Advertising is all about strategy, at every stage in the process.

Planning / media buying - who are the target audience, how can we best reach them?

Creative - how can we best connect with the audience and make them feel something?

Production - how can we convert the creative into a piece of content that looks and feels on brand and connects emotionally with the audience?

The team then pick a director based on style, experience and reputation to bring the script to life and ultimately make the audience sit up and listen. 

A voice-over is picked based on the target demographic, their delivery, tone and sometimes their reputation. 

Music and sound are often the final pieces to the puzzle and can be the only two elements that aren’t strategically considered. It is often a case of just finding a track that works while editing the offline, and sending it over to the sound studio to incorporate into the sound design and mix, which are happening separately.

This is understandable; production is challenging, and some things are bound to get left until later when you need to get the shoot sorted and manage the client, but we think it is pretty simple to improve. And we think that a simple shift in this direction could greatly enhance the wider work.

To highlight this from the opposite perspective, try muting a film and watching it in silence. 

Does that film have the same effect on you?

How can we address this gulf between the importance of sound and how strategically it is considered in the context of production?

How can we give sound the same weight as music in the process and conceive and produce them IN TANDEM so that they are truly integrated?

How do we leverage the possibilities within sound design to contribute to, and enhance the emotion in the music?

The answer is by consulting with a strategic audio partner who can help conceive and execute creative ideas and advise across the production of all audio assets from the moment the script or storyboard is approved.

The best music and sound partners are not just there to execute ideas you have already had, but to help you conceive them in the first place. When their experience, knowledge and talent sits across music AND sound design, then the integration of these can add real weight to the emotion your work communicates and the connection it makes with the audience.

Kim Papworth, ex-ECD and partner of Wieden + Kennedy, would always do the first review of a new piece of work with his eyes closed so he could hear the film before he saw it.This was many moons ago, but in the current market where media platforms proliferate, this approach could be even more relevant now than it was then. 

Here are a couple of examples of our work from different ends of the advertising spectrum:

This Gucci film is more subtle and arty. It’s a good way to show how music and sound design can be almost indistinct when truly integrated - working together to create a harmonious, emotional sound world.

Niantic is a full on cinematic journey into its world. Here, the music is prominent but the balance of sound was so important. In addition to the creative sound design, we also recorded foley throughout, which, as is often the case in film, may be undetectable to the naked ear when in context with the wider sound world - but it adds such an important layer to the realism and therefore the connection with the audience. Having all these elements overseen by the same creative audio team in collaboration with the agency team really brought the film to life.

Will Ward, Jack Wyllie and Oscar Kugblenu, 19 Sound

Over the years, 19 Sound has developed a sound palette that now helps define the sound of Stone Island. The music we make for them is as much sound design as it is music composition. This has evolved over the years, enabling us, as sound creators, to strategically position ourselves in the very fabric of the brand. 

This isn’t to say it was contrived or even planned, but with any good creative working relationship, you build an innate understanding of each other, which means the creative collaboration, between client and supplier, becomes second nature. 

The fruits of this collaboration then become something the customer expects to hear, as they are now very familiar with the sound of the brand. 

Stone Island Glow - 40th Anniversary. Sound design, music composition & mix by Will Ward & Jack Wyllie from 19 Sound on Vimeo.

Never resting on our laurels though, we always aim to evolve the sound at every opportunity. We use the timings of the edit and of course, the visuals, to creatively guide us as to what sounds would work best, but built into the soundscape of each film, at its heart, is an identifiable sonic identity. A sound designed specifically for Stone Island. 

Stone Island — HYPERLIGHT from 19 Sound on Vimeo.

Toby Jarvis, MD, A-MNEMONIC

Did you know our auditory neural pathways develop in the womb much earlier than our visual neural pathways?  They are less complex too. As a result, humans react to sound and categorise it up to 100 times faster than sight. Humans have had this skill since first inhabiting the earth. Our lives would have depended on it! Yet, despite millennia of human evolution, our reaction to sound is still involuntary. We simply can’t help it.

It doesn’t take long watching the new dramas on Netflix or Prime, to see how we can be totally immersed and engaged by the ‘sound’ of the sound. We expect it.

These shows’ creators expertly understand the importance of creating distinctive audio identities to captivate audiences. This creates a powerful emotional connection between viewers and the show. We watch the next episode.

With the ever-increasing importance of audio in the digital landscape, good use of sound design can have a significant impact on a brand's overall creative product and connection with its audience.

Sound is an incredibly powerful tool for creating emotional engagement, conveying information, building brand identity and improving the user experience.

First, understand what your goals are:

What are you trying to achieve with your sound?
Who are the audience, their mindsets?
Where will they hear audio and how?
How can we then be creative and convey our message in an engaging, arresting way?

With a bit of creativity and insight, sound design can become an invaluable asset for any business.

By taking a thoughtful approach to sound design, brands can create immersive and meaningful experiences for their audience, which leads to greater engagement, loyalty and brand recognition. Don't let your brand be mute!

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LBB Editorial, Tue, 09 May 2023 08:00:00 GMT